Road trips are facinating, you get to see a lot, and even more when you are in a foreign country. We, Sanket Samba and me, started off early morning from Tucson, had chai at Sanket's friends' place in Phoenix, which is around two hours from here. Its a big city, supposedly 4th or 5th largest in the US. Multi-storey flyovers, never ending malls, its a sight, particularly in the night.
It was already chilly in Phoenix, and as we went on our way ahead towards, Flagstaff, thats another big city in Arizona, it was already snowing! My very first experience with snow. Surprisingly it wasn't as much cold as I thought, though it was snowing. Grand Canyon is about an hour from there. And that entire journey from Flagstaff to the Canyon felt like a ride in Serbia or something. Thats probably 'cause Russia is the thing that pops to my mind when I think about snow ! Light flakes tossing in air, foggy coniferous trees and dark clouds. Every thing I saw was now a 'kodak moment', and we did take quite a few snaps.
Grand Canyon though wasn't what we expected. The snow and the fog made the grandeur disappear. All we could see looking down the valley was dense fog. It was like haath ko aaya par mooh na laga :P We satisfied ourselves with the fridge magnets :s
After that we proceeded towards Las Vegas, it was some 4 hours drive. And we got to go through the historically popular Route 66. Its one of the oldest highways in US, theres a nice digital depiction of it in the recent movie Cars.
Entering Vegas from the Arizona side is an extraordinary experience. You can see the vast expanse of Las Vegas all glowing with a million lights, so much so that it creates a glow in the atmosphere, its something better seen than described. You also get to see the Hoover Dam at the outskirts, which I somehow found not that interesting. The funny thing you notice there is a clock on one side of the dam that says Arizona time & on the other side there is the Nevada time, and you gain/lose time just by crossing the line. This way we gained one hour while entering Vegas, and arrived just in time.
Once in Las Vegas we hurried to catch the free shows of various casinos. We caught the "Fountains of Bellagio" right in time. Its a fountain dance in the lake around the Bellagio casino, it was shown in Oceans' 11 in the scene where everybody meets after the robbery. After that it was already late and we missed the show at Treasure Island, another big casino. The casinos in Las Vegas are all located in an area called "The Strip" and its as grand as it can get. Places like MGM Grand, New York, Paris, Bellagio, Venetia are enormous and a dish to watch, all decorated with their own "themes".
Wandering around we had entered Venetia(Venice) casino, and what we saw inside was astounding. They had created a Venice like theme there, with the canals, boats, small bridges and daylight! A skylike ceiling diffusing light as if it was a day, just too good.
Though with just 2 hours to roam around, we didn't play anything nor did we try any other adventures, if you know what I mean ;)
We stayed at my roomie's brother's place, he works in Vegas!! Next day we took the road back to Tucson, going through Flagstaff again, which was experiencing snow-meltdown. A great trip, but such that it has left us to visit those places again. Vegas again, 'cause we rushed through it and GC again 'cause of the snow.
And now something about "Exit 42":
On the highway I saw a lot of signs saying exit number this and that. And it clicked to me that a pic of "Exit 42" sign would make a rare & novel snap. But I had already missed Exit 42 on the route, and people said that the next sign would occur ahead of Tucson. But my luck was good, we stumbled across "Exit 42" in Phoenix! It doesn't end here, in a moving car, in the night, I just couldn't get a neat snap of the sign, and again I was left high and dry. Theres always next.